Feels like kidney pain but isn't?

Posted , 4 users are following.

Hi, I'm looking for advice if anyone can help.

For around 7 months I've been having pain (not sharp, more like a dull ache which is quite uncomfortable) in my sides. It started in my right side under my ribs and toward my back, but then spread across to my left side too, in the same area.

I went to the doctors as I thought it could be my kidneys, but was told the pain would be higher on my back if it were. She sent me for a blood test and told me to keep taking paracetamol and ibuprofen and wash them down with coffee. The blood test showed I have a low white blood cell count, and I was asked to go back a week later for another test. I did this and got the same results, so was told to go back in another month for another blood test. Again I went back and the result was the same, so I was told to wait another 2 months and have another test (I am due this any time now).

In the meantime I developed a UTI and the pain in my sides had spread up my back (where the dr said the pain would be if it was a problem with my kidneys), so I went back to the doctors. I was told it wouldn't be my kidneys as the UTI would have started at the same time as the pain. I was given antibiotics which cleared up the infection, and was sent for an ultrasound on my kidneys to check them just in case. I have been for that this week but the results showed there are no problems with my kidneys, so have been told its nothing serious and to just go for another blood test.

I'm getting a bit upset with this as I constantly have this dull pain, I have to sit with a hot water bottle on my back all day at work, and heat patches on my sides as this is the only thing that seems to help ease it. I have tried to look online to see what could be causing this, but everything points to my kidneys, which it obviously isn't.

Sorry for the rambling post but any advice would be much appreciated! smile

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7 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Gigglemonkey

    Firstly, sorry to hear about your pain.

    Can I ask where your from as treatments differ.??

    You seem to think it's kidney related but Dr don't, is there a reason why you think kidney?? Any family history??.

    Regarding the pain, can you describe location a little better?? Also does anything bring the pain on, make it worse, i.e. Like drinking.??

    Are you on any meds?? If so please say which ones.

    Hopefully I can help give advice, but just wanted to rule one thing out in my mind before I go in that direction.

    Sorry also your white blood count is low, did they give any reason as to what can be causeing it?


    George (UK)

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    • Posted

      Morning George,

      Thank you for getting back to me, any advice you can give would be great.

      I'm from the UK too so hopefully you will be able to help.

      The only reason I thought it could be kidney related is because when I googled my symptoms that was the only thing that came up, and I knew my kidneys were around that area. Also my mum has only 1 functioning kidney, but I was unsure if that could be hereditary.

      The pain is like a dull ache, it started on my right side, right at the bottom of my ribs. It is on the side of my back and around my side, but doesn't go as far as my stomach. Sorry I'm not quite sure how to describe it! Usually on a morning it is along my right side but moves over to my left throughout the day. The pain along my back goes right up the middle of my back, and again is more of an ache than a sharp pain. 

      Sitting and laying down seem to make it worse, it is still uncomfortable when I am walking around but not as bad. Apart from that nothing else really affects it.

      I am not on any medication, just take paracetamol and ibuprofen sometimes.

      Regarding my white cell count, I haven't been given any information about this, just that it is low and usually sorts itself out so I should keep having blood tests. I did mention this the second time I went to the doctors but was told that I should only worry if the cell count is high as this is a sign of an infection.

      I hope this gives you a little more insight,



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    • Posted

      Hi Stacey

      Where in the UK are you from. ??

      Regarding low white blood cell, I don't know a lot but I know they should be keeping an eye on you and I thought there was a drug that you should be on to prevent infection, prehaps soeak to a pharmas.

      Ok what I was thinking about your pain and Kidney but I think it's not as you don't get pain on drinking. I was getting pain similar to your self for about 18 months but was always left side, and when I was drinking it kept getting worse, then one morning I woke feeling really unwell, I was rushed to hospital as I collapsed at home, I had lots of scans and X-rays, they then noticed my left kidney was about 5 times the normal size, I had something called a congenital stricture of the left ureater. This is the pipe that goes from the kidney to the bladder. Basically over the time it got narrower and narrower and then closed up, then I woke up feeling sick I went down stairs and had a ltr of water and next I was in hospital. I had surgery that same day, they made 4 incisions in my left side, and placed a tube up my penis and up the ureater, they then cut the bad bit pushed the pipe more and then reattached both ends, the tube was left to dangle in the bladder, 8 weeks later they removed the stent.

      So I now not sure about then but wondered have you had an ultra sound of you liver, kidney and gallbladder.??



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    • Posted

      Hi George,

      I have had an ultrasound of my kidneys and bladder and they said all looks okay. I am going back to the doctors tomorrow afternoon, I will mention this to see if there could be any chance thats what it could be.

      Thanks for your help!

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  • Posted


    I had similar symptoms as you except my blood tests and other scan showed nothing

    It all started with a kidney stone which left me with sharp pain in my back and the right flank. It then developped in these dull pain aroud my rib cage, radiating to my back and right side

    Another difference is that cold relieved me from the pains and heat actually triggered an episode of pain

    After 6 months of tests, they rulesd out any kidney problem. However, it looked like that I developed some sort of inflammation just after the kidney stone which then spread to my rib cage.

    I saw a rheumatologist and he suspects I have costochondrotis, in other word inflammation of the cartilage of my ribs

    I had a couple of injections of cortisone and steroids to decrease the inflammation and I also applied a painkiller patch. So far, that is the only treatment that have worked to manage my pains. I will provably have the diagnosis confirmed once I stop all medication. Hopefully, the pains won't come back after the treatment... it has been quite frustrating not to have efficient painkillers in the last 6 months

    So you might want to investigate this avenue...

    Good luck

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    • Posted

      Hi Swifette,

      Thanks for this, I've managed to another appointment at the doctors tomorrow afternoon so I will mention it to her then.

      Hopefully they will listen to me this time and will get something sorted!

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  • Posted

    It could be your gallbladder, have it checked at your appointment.  I had patients with your kind of pain discription be diagnosed with gallstones.  Good luck,  Tom Colorado
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